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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  August 17, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT

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>> "inside washington" is brought you in part by the american federation of government employees, proud to make america work. for more information about afge and membership, visit afge.org. >> what do you think of when you see a tree? a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars?
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do you think of hope for the environment, or food, clothing, shelter? we do. weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> this week on "inside washington," mitt romney at's august surprise. >> i am delighted to have picked as my running mate paul ryan, a great leader. >> suddenly it is all about paul ryan and medicare. >> governor romney and i will protect and strengthen medicare for seniors. >> they want to turn medicare into a voucher program. >> it is is getting nasty out there. >> unchain wall street. they are going to put y'all back in chains. >> this is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like. >> i don't think there's anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can
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least afford it. >> it is and not hope, it is not change. it is partisanship. "tim brant's college football previ captioned by the national captioning institute -- >> washington loves a good fight, at least to those of us here on "inside washington" do, and now we have one tree in one corner, the president of the united states, slim, trim, and ready to rumble. any new challenger, congressman paul ryan, also a slim, also trim, also ready. >> the contrasts in this election could not be clearer. we can stick with the current path, a path of the debt, doubt, declined, the path president obama has put us on, or we can
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get back in business, we apply our principles, and save the american idea. >> conservative republicans appear to be delighted with the choice of paul ryan, although politico reports that some republican professionals in washington, none of them quoted by name, think the choice is a disaster. a lot of democrats seem to delight in the choice, arguing that he takes the focus off of the economy and puts it on medicare. i know you are delighted with the choice, charles. >> i do, because the strategy of running only on the economy wasn't working. a couple of weeks before he chose ryan, it was slipping away. the gap between him and obama was it someone increasing, and a message was becoming about romney's taxes, the bain history, and he wasn't winning. now i.t. is completely different
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terrain, it is on ideas and ideology, they have a good job. >> mark? >> paul ryan was a bold choice. you either go macro or micro, probate, or try to go after a particular -- go big, or try to go after a particular state or constituency. rob portman would have been that. paul ryan was a bold choice, and what has not gotten the attention -- it has made mitt romney a better candidate mitt romney is better in what he is around. boston finally figured this out eight days later, and they will put the two of them together. romney, who is basically robotic as a candidate, all of a sudden became animated and almost natural with this bromance. >> near human? >> mmm, quasi-, crypto-, neo-. [laughter] >> colby? >> romney went all in with this
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candidate, and it is good and the sense that the campaign will be run on vision. which team really has the right vision for the country. there is not going to be fuzziness between them. obama is clear about the role of it toment and the way to take, and romney is somewhere else. that is the good part of it. the other thing is that paul might bring some intellectual heft to the discussion. >> evan? >> it was a bold choice, and i was hopeful that would bring intellectual have to to the discussion. the discussion this past week has mostly been scuffling around, accusing each other of murder -- not directly, but it is not an uplifting campaign. >> by putting paul ryan and the ryan budget in the spotlight,
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going back to what you said, mark, romney does not look as good alone, doesn't make the top of the ticket look weak? >> that is a concern. i saw one conservative columnist say that if only this ticket were reversed. that is the last thing you want to hear as the presidential nominee. if anything, it shows that romney was not fearful of having somebody on who speaks in bold colors. i think that, quite bluntly, it takes the race from a referendum on president obama's storch and makes it a choice election, and that is an opportunity republicans seize an opportunity in. >> what about the women's vote, the hispanic vote, rye and's vote on the personhood bills --
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>> that is the difference between the republican strategy in the democratic strategy, the difference between the democrat party, a holy roman empire of larger interest groups, ethnicities, constituencies, and the republicans, who are running more of a national campaign about reforming the country. obama's strategy is you want to go after hispanics, african- americans, young women, unions, days, and you put them together and you get 51%. that obviously is not -- as mark indicated, romney did not go for governor of ohio or perhaps marco rubio to get inroads among hispanics. he went for the national argument, the idea of reform. he is trying to recreate the conditions of 2010, which was nationalized election on where obama had taken america and the classic left-right issues of smaller or larger government.
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that is what the republican strategy is. >> i wish it was as simple as all of that. i think romney is also playing to a certain constituency as well. why shouldn't he? he is looking at a conservative base, looking at a suburban base, clearly at the religious evangelical base. >> ryan -- >> you cannot just say he has a national candidate -- >> ryan won't deliver any of those constituencies. >> the general convention it is to go for the middle in the general election but it appears they are doing something different in this election, they are trying to get their basic going. ryan is a base move, obama is playing to his base. there is not much of the middle.
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>> how can you be undecided at this point? >> tall stalks about the great philosophical divide, and paul ryan is lauded on how great he is. if you look at the paul ryan budget, he wants to cut taxes by 40%. how do you make up that revenue? they are very precise on how to cut taxes and for whom, but very vague, deliberately so, on how they are going to pay for it and what loopholes they are going to close. >> you know, the president, i am told, is talking about medicare today. what i don't think he will be telling people is that the president took $716 billion from the medicare program, raided
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it to pay for obamacare. >> you hear about that number in line. for years on this program, we of criticized people on this program -- evan especially -- for their cowardice in avoiding the third rail of politics. give this man credit, he has jumped on it. what do you think, mark? >> paul ryan as in and area were key is going to lose. if you make this about medicare and which party is more committed to strengthening medicare, the democrats by every measure of opinion win in that debate 2-1, by 25 points. paul ryan, who talks about -- and it is unsustainable, evan is absolutely right. we spend $540 billion last year for 49 million americans on medicare. that number is going up.
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it has to be addressed, no question about it. the question is do you want a party that has consistently opposed it doing that? >> they are going to demagogue it unbelievable. we always joke about throwing granny in the snow. sure enough, there is an ad in florida, cranny in the wheelchair. i thought it was a joke, not an ad. >> on saturday as romney made his choice, i heard dr. krauthammer is say that if they are smart, they will get ahead of the curve on medicare. is this working? >> absolutely. it is jujitsu of the first order, and it began with democrats echoing mark's thinking, that if you bring up medicare, republicans are going to lose.
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that is empirically false. in the 2010 election, the fact that obama had taken out of medicare to pay for the uninsured in obamacare, that was a very powerful issue, and a strong element in the shellacking that democrats had taken. what democrats have forgotten -- they were foaming at the mouth to attack on medicare, but the town of point is brilliant for one reason. the one republican nominee who was least equipped to go head- to-head with obama on obamacare was romney, because of what he did in massachusetts. however, there is one area where there is a difference between romney and obama on a national health insurance. he never took anything out of medicare. obama did. now romney can attack obama on obamacare in a way he never could. that is where democrats
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miscalculated. they do not have an answer. >> counter-attack brilliant, colby? >> that is the attack, to say that a bank took the money out of medicare. sununu says they, all on the same page and following their intellectual leader -- >> cbo says that as well. >> i would never interrupt you, charles. he is not taking money out of medicare. he is not taking money away from -- obama is not. the money that would be going to providers of medicare -- why did he take the money away? the assumption was under the affordable health care plans the, there's more and more people getting insurance and they are not going to have to rely on -- uninsured patients drawdown on hospitals. that is a perfectly reasonable
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calculus. you can say that, it is a nice charge to make, and you can say it over and over again, but it does not hold up. that is true of so much of what is going on on the republican side. they have these nice little arguments, limbaugh and all the rest, but they don't hold up. >> ryan says if you are 55 and up, you are ok. what if you are 54? >> the two parties diverge. the democrats believe in insurance exchanges for people under 65, and republicans believe in trends exchanges, they want to privatize it for people over 65. republicans don't want the insurance exchanges available for anybody under 65, but all of a sudden at age 65, will become discerning an informed and a little about this. -- and analytical about this. mitt romney had a great week. we have to acknowledge the fact that he finally address is taxes
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and said that he never paid less than 13% -- >> over 10 years. >> which is half of what a nurse and firefighter would pay, half of what the president maypaid. >> notice how quickly my liberal colleagues on the right bailed on the medicare debate -- >> not at all!. >> all of a sudden wanted to talk about romney's taxes. so much ever, so little time. the cbo said that if obamacare were abolished, it would decrease the medicare trust fund -- would increase the medicare trust fund. money was moved. second, you got it exactly wrong. if you are already on medicare, or 10 years away, you will not be affected in any way whatsoever ever on medicare, end of the story. >> what about florida?
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how do you deliver florida? >> there is going to be a lot of lying and confusion going on. all of this about moving money from the spot to spot, they will lose sight of the real issue. the only weight use of medicare is something the government can be involved in, but it will take the marketplace, too, and that is changing the way we deliver health care to old people. doctors have to go on salary. fee-for-service does not work anymore. there is built-in inflation. you ought to have a nurse practitioners taking care of people instead of -- >> in massachusetts, they are running out of doctors. >> and here is the big one -- death panels. there is no way we will solve this problem if we keep on spending so much money on the end of life. europe doesn't do it, other countries don't do it. as a society, sooner or later we would, confront this issue of
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how to spend on people -- >> you do want to throw granny over a cliff. >> get tattoos right here that's a "please resuscitate." >> as my mother was dying, she said, "pull the plug." >> mark, james surowiecki writes about this in "the new yorker" -- "this is a bait and switch deal did he wants to take us to the early 19th century." >> what paul ryan, like every republican, says is that we will cut everything except defense spending. paul ryan sat on the simpson- bowles commission. there were only two elected officials -- give them credit.
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dick durbin of illinois, tom coburn of oklahoma. why did paul ryan oppose it? it involves raising revenues. evan has made the point, anybody who is thoughtful has made the same point -- if you want to balance the budget, you have to raise revenues. he would cut $130 billion out of food stamps, which have raised 4 million american children out of poverty last year. this is the kind of cuts you are going to lafollette if you are not going to raise revenues. >> it is not left-wing rhetoric. it is the fact that his budget will cut deeply into the social safety net. it is going to cut into education. >> he says that you have to be careful that it does not become a habit that will force people into a culture of dependency. >> the best way to do that is to go back to darwinism. >> we will be cutting
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everything. the one thing they keep dancing around is loophole closing, because a lot of those loopholes benefit middle-class people -- market >>. deductions -- mortgage deductions, charitable deductions, and it has to be at some point honestly addressed. >> i have done so much cleaning up to do here i don't know where to start. >> give them and our room. > -- give that the man of our room. >> darwinism? give me a break. the budget he proposed, which was spoken of by erskine bowles, who you all know and like, the chief of staff to clinton, he said it was an excellent start. he has disagreements on details. in the medicare plan that paul ryan has come up with with ron wyden of oregon was agreed to by
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the bipartisan committee appointed by president clinton, late 1990's, on which alice rivlin, clinton's omb director, sat. it is the same idea of premium support. all of these attempts to say that it is a return to darwinism is simply complete hyperbole and exaggeration. >> joe biden's mouth got him into a lot of trouble again. >> he is going to let the big banks write their own rules. unchain wall street. backare going to put y'all in chains. >> wild and reckless accusations that disgraced the office of the presidency. >> the biden, it has gone of rival bid mitt romney -- "take your campaign of division and hate back to chicago." how did the white house handled this one, colby?
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>> not well. by ignoring it, they did not do well -- >> the president sort of -- >> not well. the thing about biden that bothered some people, myself included, is that you don't have to resort to colloquialisms to talk to african-americans. "y'all"? and he also could have talked about it in a different way. if romney is elected with paul ryan, we will go back to a system of benign neglect, we're serious social problems are ignored or just treated -- swept under the rug. got some time to go, and it is already getting pretty nasty. how much worse can it get? i guess it can get worse. >> biden is biden. i don't think he is going to be a disaster, because everybody knows he has got a big mouth.
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he is going to shoot his mouth off. >> but as jonathan margin reported in politico, he is great one-on-one. >> it is going to happen. >> he is an embarrassment. the only reason i found it hard to take umbrage is the guy is so off the wall that you sort of expect a. he is like manny ramirez. he catches and out with only one out in the inning and he tosses the ball into the stands. manny being manny. this is a guy that nobody takes seriously. i think there is a fitness problem here. the bar for biden is so low because of all the crazy stuff he says that you have to ask yourself, is this the guy you want a heartbeat away? >> all the crazy stuff he says -- i don't know what it is. >> "y'all gonna be --"
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>> colby is absolutely right. not only was it offensive, it was patronizing. at the same time, joe biden has been a pretty sure footed vice president, incredibly loyal and effective in reaching working- class families that barack obama is not as comfortable addressing. i think in that sense, what we have is a campaign -- evan put his finger on it earlier -- we thought it was going to be a seminar discussions with paul ryan, and it got pretty down and dirty. >> the president has punted on the issue of debt reduction. >> this congressional republican budget is a trojan horse. >> as you can see, these gentlemen have been at each other's throats figure to leave for a couple of years now. we talked about the president's
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charge that it is social darwinism. again, we're not talking about romney in versus obama on this show. we're talking about paul ryan. >> right, because ryan is a good target if obama wants to run against them, the far right, the conservatives, the tea party. romney is sort of a cipher. >> this debate has been going on for a while. >> but ryan has laid down the market he has provided the plan and the documents that you can respond to. >> the reason he has is because obama hasn't . he said on july 11, 2011, in a press conference -- it wasn't a secret -- no matter how much you raise taxes, medicare is insolvent and unsustainable. as he presented a plan? no.
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his treasury secretary was asked by ryan in house hearings -- do you have a plan on medicare? >> even though he sets hearts fluttering among conservative columnists -- "the wall street journal" is royal page gives him a wet kiss every times he turns around -- he is getting scrutiny he has never had a "the wall street journal" revealed he sent four letters requesting stimulus funds even though he said he had never done a bit he voted for the iraq war unfunded. all of a sudden he is going to get scrutiny, the kind of scrutiny a president gets, deservedly and rightly so. >> that is what democrats want -- read oppo research and run on that.
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the idea of running on medicare, on a plan, a budget, what is sustainable and what is not is totally alien to an administration that has run away from all the issues for a full term. >> i agree -- he is a congressman. not too many congressmen have been in that position. he has never really been in the majors. i do think that, although it did not happen this week, he does have the chance to elevate the debate here. my only hope for this election, which is basically been down in the mud and on the low road, is that a greater conversation about of what government is good for, and he engages on that. >> you get the last word. let's elevate the debate. see you next week. >> "inside washington" is brought you in part by the american federation of government employees, proud to make america work. for more information about afge and membership, visit afge.org.
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